Academics and affordability. Those are two words that college students hope to blend as much as possible. With the high costs of tuition and club membership dues, the expensive textbook fees are another burden to add on to the growing cost of college. Renting textbooks instead of buying them can often be a much cheaper alternative that will still grant you access to the information of the textbook. However, one of the biggest drawbacks about textbook rentals is that you are unable to write in the textbook and take your own notes within the pages. But fear not − textbook rental can still be your go-to option if you use these tips to take notes in your rentals!

1. Stick on Post-Its.

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You can’t write in the textbook itself, but you can jot your thoughts down on a Post-It and stick the Post-It onto the pages of your textbook. Post-Its will still allow you to interact with the textbook and make annotations; plus, it will give you the added benefit of having more space to free your thoughts.

2. Use a separate notebook. 

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To avoid writing in the textbook itself, you could take notes in a separate notebook! Just keep that notebook next to the textbook as you read, and write down any important concepts or ideas that pop up!

3. Type up notes on a laptop. 

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If you’re not a fan of doing your own handwritten notes, you can also try keeping your laptop open as you read the textbook. Instead of writing down notes on a notebook, you can type up key points on your laptop to keep with you.

4. Use electronic rental textbooks.

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An even cheaper alternative than rental textbooks could be e-rentals. If available, you could purchase the rental textbook online and have access to a PDF version of it. With this electronic copy, you could use a web text editor to write down notes in that PDF as if it were a real physical textbook!

5. Make flashcards. 

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As you go through the text, it’s important that you absorb the main points and the important concepts. This is the information that you’ll ultimately have to know, so you can take your notes in the form of flashcards. Start making flashcards as you work your way through the text; this method can push you to identify major concepts.

6. Answer chapter summary questions. 

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Those chapter summary questions toward the end of the chapter tend to get ignored, but they are also important in making sure that you understand the information the text was discussing. After reading the text, try answering those questions as if they were part of an exam. This process can help you figure out what you do or don’t understand without having to write in the rental textbook.

Textbooks can be crucial to surviving a difficult class, but unfortunately, their costs often make them inaccessible. Rental textbooks can be a cheaper, more accessible option, but they do present their own difficulties in terms of note-taking and annotations. With these tips, however, you can use rental textbooks and take notes without leaving a single mark in them! 

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